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Canadian miner will sue Costa Rica for $1bn

Crucitas mine

Canadian gold miner Infinito Gold (TSX.V:IG) says it will sue the Costa Rican government for $1 billion after a new mining law in 2011 rendered its open-pit mine illegal.

The company has invested $92 million in the Las Crucitas project which, according to the company, had a profit potential of $1 billion.

In 2008 Infinito obtained a mining concession for the 261-hectare project in the northern region of Crucitas. But after an outcry from some politicians and environmental groups, a court decided to cancel the permit. The project would have destroyed 190 hectares of forest.

According to AFP (in Spanish), the company made the law suit official on Friday through its Costa Rican subsidiary Industrias Infinito.

Infinito Gold, a Calgary-based firm, has decided to take the case to the International Centre for Settlement Dispute – a World Bank organization head-quartered in Washington, DC – because six months of negotiations have failed.

Costa Rica’s Environment Minister told AFP reporters that the ministry would soon release an official statement.

Earlier this year, the International Centre for Settlement Dispute dismissed Infinito’s $1 billion claim against another Latin American government. Venezuelan officials confiscated the company’s Las Cristinas mine in 2001, sparking a 10-year battle between the government and the Canadian company.